kid-snack14
breakfast, desserts, Recipes, salad, snacks

5 Fabulous Ways to Use Granola

5  Fabulous Ways to Use Granola

I’m a yogi bear aka granola junkie.

As a kid I truly underestimated this oat clustered goodness, I thought it was something old people ate. In my young eight year old mind it was the raisin brand of cereal.

Man was I wrong. I’m telling you I had no idea what I was missing. I thought Trix was where it was at. I’m sure lots of kids feel that way. Dude Lucky Charms. That was also a favorite of mine. Don’t get me wrong. Still a huge fan.

Finally I got my crap together and realized that granola was the real deal and man is it good. I know it can have a bad rap, people say its hippy food, they say it isn’t healthy, or they think what I thought, that it was boring. If you are one of those I’m not sure, its just breakfast thing, I don’t eat yogurt so why would I get any. I’m of a cereal dude. Then you need to double check your granola facts, it is way more than just a topping for yogurt or a substitute for cereal.

Granola is one of those lucky guest that can go in the savory or sweet department.

I give to you the fabulous 5 ways I love to use granola, other than as a cereal or smoothie topping, which just shows you why granola rocks so much.

Not only am I going to give you awesome fabulous ways to use your granola, I am also going to give you a few of my favorite brands, that I personally love. Love with a capital L. Or if you are feeling adventures, go whip up your own.

Do not think granola as hippy food, granola now a days is full healthy ingredients like nuts, seeds and dried fruit but also very, very tasty.

Baked Apples

Need a quick dessert to impress some friends and don’t have much time to whip it up, if you have some apples in your fridge, granola in the pantry you have an amazingly delicious and quick baked apple.

Angela from Oh She Glows has an awesome recipe featuring a homemade granola, if your feeling lazy just sub in any of your favorite store bought granola or take a look at my favorites. Keeping it real with wholesome ingredients, this is a recipe everyone will love. Get the recipe here for Baked Apples Stuffed with Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal.

Use Granola as A Topping for Roasted Veggies

Wow your guest or anyone for that matter by topping your roasted root veggies or veggies in general with some crunchy granola clusters. I’m telling you, they won’t know what hit them. 

Sommer from A Spicy Perspective has created a gorgeous dish of roasted root vegetables and arugula then topping it with a pumpkin seed almond granola. If your short on time make this amazing salad with store bought granola. Find her recipe for Roasted Root Vegetable Salad here.

Exchange for Croutons

This is the latest chefs trick, adding granola into different salads instead of croutons. 

Check out my Kale and Butternut Squash Salad with Granola here.

 

Make a Crisp or Tart with Granola Topping. 

This is seriously the best thing ever. Making fruit crisp with already made granola makes your life so much easier. 

Rachel from Bakerita has this awesome blueberry crisp type tart in where the granola is actually used in the crust. Digging the fact that it’s vegan and  gluten free. You can find the recipe for Blueberry Crisp Tart with Oatmeal Crust here.

Granola Cookies

Mix your favorite store bought granola or homemade into your cookie dough recipe for a truly wonderful yogi bear experience. I love doing this with chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal raisin. I actually will be putting up a Chickpea Chocolate Chip Banana Cookie recipe soon and it makes an amazing base. You can do this with any cookie dough to be honest. 

 

My Favorite Granola Brands

As much as I love to cook sometimes good quality store bought granolas have it going on, as a smoothie bowl topping, something to throw on top of my kale salads or a healthy snack to munch on. These are some of my favorite brands that stick with my food philosophy. 

Jessica’s Natural Foods

Gluten free, non-GMO and with awesome flavors like, chocolate chip, chocolate hazelnut and my favorite vanilla maple. 

Mamma Chia 

Organic, dairy and soy free, these chia filled granola clusters have 10 grams of protein in each serving. Try my favorite vanilla almond.

Purely Elizabeth 

Gluten free, diary free and full of ancient grains and refined sugar free, try one of their unique four flavors, my personal addiction, blueberry hemp. 

Love Grown

Gluten free, non-GMO, vegan and protein packed, check out 5 of their amazing flavors, like my current favorite apple walnut delight. 

What are you favorite granola brands? What ways do you like to enjoy your granola? Are you more of a savory granola muncher or a sweet one? Do you keep things simple and just snack on it or are you adventures and like to recreate a recipe with granola. Share your thoughts! I love to hear them.

Vegan Almond Butter Popcorn Treats
desserts, Recipes

Vegan Almond Butter Popcorn Treats

Almond butter, marshmallows and popcorn, what more could you ask for in life? Sure a trip to Japan, to meet a Geisha and maybe win a million dollars but other than that, seriously?

Okay. Maybe it’s just me since I really, really dig all three of these. But hello? Vegan Almond Butter Popcorn Treats, where have you been all of my life?

I literally just created a mashup off random things I like, no I’m obsessed with and sometimes I don’t like to admit just how much of each I consume.

In college my mini fridge was filled with bags of mini and large marshmallows, now my freezer holds a vegan variety to accommodate my new way of eating. My friends would mock until they came in drunk asking for some.

BTW give Dandies a try, they are awesome.

Almond butter is one of those guilty pleasures of mine, I literally at this moment have maybe 5 different kinds, I have this vanilla expresso one from Wild Friends, there’s also Vanilla and Maple from Justin’s, I also have a few more from Wild Friends and that’s just almond butter don’t even get me started on other nut and seed butters.

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Popcorn is one of those snacks I can consider a meal at times. I would love to say Olivia Pope has something to do with it, but the reality is I’ve always been a popcorn fan.  My brother for my 22nd birthday bought a very cute popcorn machine. Its awesome. I might show it to you.

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4 Ingredient Mango Strawberry Limeade
beverage, Recipes

4 Ingredient Mango Strawberry Limeade

If you like strawberries and mangos and squeezing limes in the rain. I like strawberries and mangos and squeezing limes in the shade. I think I wanna marry strawberries and mangos and get lost with some limes. I like drinking 4 Ingredient Mango Strawberry Limeade.

Did I make you laugh? Admit it you guys are loving my song making skills. Hahahaha. If I can’t laugh at myself who else is going to?  I’m sorry for my childish weird ways. This side comes out more than I would like to admit.

Happy almost fall!

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Kale and Butternut Squash Salad with Granola
Recipes, salad

Kale and Butternut Squash Salad with Granola

I know most people are over kale and salads, for that matter. I on the other hand cannot remove myself from the massaged kale salad wagon or even the kale chip wagon, actually I’m still head over heels for kale. I also really like butternut squash, not only is it available year round for me and extremely versatile it’s also super tasty and good for you.

Butternut squash is full of vitamin A , C and a good source of magnesium as well as potassium. While I love to eat creamy butternut squash soup I also have an appreciation for roasted butternut squash in salads or just as is.

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bentonite clay post2
life, Lifestyle

Why I Drink Bentonite Clay Everyday

Alright, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit weird actually no I’m really weird and you are going to have one more reason to consider me weirder than normal when I tell you that drink clay everyday to be more precise I drink bentonite clay every day. At least I try to, it’s more of a 5-6 days out of the week type of thing. Before you get decide to close the window just hear me out. It’s not that out there.

For the last three months I’ve been drinking bentonite clay every day. I get a lot questions as to why I’m drinking it and what it taste like, what the benefits are, if I fell and hit myself with a rock, why the hell am I drinking dirt? Yeah I get those all the time. Before I dive into the why I’m into bentonite clay and all that jazz. Can we discuss the olympics for just a minute?

Okay here I go:

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Creamy Vanilla Raspberry Overnight Oats
breakfast, desserts, Recipes

Creamy Vanilla Raspberry Overnight Oats

I know what your thinking, another creamy overnight oats recipe.

Just hear me out.

These overnight oats are creamy, delicious and full of vanilla flavor. I know most people say that about their overnight oats but these are something else. The vanilla works its way into the actual oats, it also finds its way into the quick raspberry vanilla sauce that makes my mouth water.

I actually created this recipe by accident. Don’t all my yummy recipes happen this way? I think. I should look into that. Haha. Kidding. I sometimes talk to myself.

I was making overnight oats one evening, when I took out the almond milk that had less than half a cup still in the carton. Thinking that I had a few more cartons in my pantry. I poured the little amount that was in the near empty one and started to search for another carton. Turns out after searching my entire kitchen. I was out.

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stovetop roasted chickpeas
Recipes, side dish

Stovetop Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas

Chickpeas are normally my go to bean of choice. Roasting them to me is the best way to eat them, sure I love hummus but the texture I get when I roast my chickpeas is unbelievable.

These Stovetop Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas are going to be your new favorite way to make chickpeas.

Seriously.

stovetop roasted chickpeasstovetop roasted chickpeas

Your going to be addicted. I even have my non liking chickpea friend liking these. The texture changes drastically and the flavor is entirely up to you. You can literally flavor them any way you like. They’re like blank canvases.

I love to eat these with some greek yogurt and a little lemon juice, they are amazing with some hummus and a great addition to your salads.

The best part is they are incredibly easy to make.

You can even enjoy these as is, as a snack.

I always use turmeric to add an natural anti- inflammatory benefit to the dish, the turmeric flavor doesn’t really come out.  So for those of you who aren’t too sure about turmeric in the sense of taste, you have nothing to worry about.

I’ve made these with cinnamon and a little pumpkin pie spice, I’ve made these Italian.

The possibilities are endless.

Currently I’m addicted to the Greenpoint Trading Co. HAWAIJ spice mix and love adding it in with the chickpeas.

This recipe here is my base recipe, you can add whatever you like to it afterwards, if your keeping it on the savory side than continue with the base recipe, if your going into the sweet route than skip everything and just keep the 1 tablespoon of turmeric and substitute the olive oil for coconut oil.

I know, a lot of people enjoy making them in the oven, to me there’s something special in using my seasoned cast iron skillet.

For those of you who need a new way of eating chickpeas this one is for you. Good news is you can make a big batch and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled if you’d like, the only thing you need to make sure is that the cast iron skillet or skillet of choice that you’re using is large enough to cook the double or triple batch.

stovetop roasted chickpeasstovetop roasted chickpeasOptions: You can change the seasoning any way you like, try these other versions for a surprise twist.

Middle Eastern: I like using Greenpoint Trading Co. HAWAIJ which has a blend of black pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander and cardamom

Italian: 1/2 tablespoon of onion powder and of dried oregano+dried basil+ 1/2 teaspoon of onion salt

Asian: 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger+cayenne pepper +1/2 tablespoon of garlic salt Substitute sesame oil for olive oil

BBQ/Smokey Flavor: I like using Greenpoint Trading Co. Dracula’s Nightmare which includes: sesame seeds, garlic, onion, oregano, basil, celery seeds, paprika and thyme. Since that is a salt free seasoning blend its perfect for people who need to watch their salt intake but want to keep all the flavor.

Don’t forget to try them, you might need a little more salt. Always taste as you go, tastebuds vary from person to person.

If you make these Stovetop Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas, tag #FOPfood I love seeing all your creations.

Stovetop Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas
Print
Serves: 2 cups
Crunchy, crispy, full of protein and covered in delicious seasoning these Stovetop Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas are going to be your new favorite way of enjoying chickpeas.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of seasoning salt, like Real Salt Brand
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic salt, like Real Salt Brand
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1½ tablespoons of turmeric
Instructions
  1. In a large cast iron skillet or skillet of choice add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, chickpeas, seasoning salt and garlic salt. Cook for about 8 minutes.
  2. Lower heat to medium low, add the remaining olive oil, the turmeric, nutritional yeast and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. Let cool and store in a airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

The salt I use in all my recipes is Real Salt. I’ve been using their salts for years and was really excited when they sent my way a bunch of their seasoned salts, including garlic, onion and the seasoning blend.

 

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. I received the samples from Real Salt,  I was not required to use them in a recipe, but I love this chickpea recipe so much I wanted to share it with you guys. 

supercharge-smoothiebowl1
breakfast, Recipes

Supercharged Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

supercharged-smoothiebowl6supercharged-smoothiebowl8

I have some terrifying news to share with you guys. Okay, maybe it’s only scary for me but it’s a little shocking. I found yet another gray hair on my head. I know you’re probably thinking okay why are so worried? You can die your hair, quick problem solved. Yeah about that, so I used to be very experimental with my hair, changing the color all the time.

I had been changing my hair color for so long, I forgot my what my natural hair color was like, then I chopped it off which wasn’t a good look by the way. It was actually pretty scary, I felt like a dude. Don’t laugh.

Anywho. After that, I thought, I think I need to go all natural for a while and I’m really digging it. For the first time in I don’t know how long I am comfortable with myself in a more au natural look. I think its the same way I am with my food, I like things clean, unprocessed and good for you, that’s the same way I feel about my beauty routine. Which reminds me, have any of you tried collagen protein powder in your smoothies? I’m seeing it all over the web and it has me a little curious. If you have any tips, favorite brands or just opinions? Share please.

Well enough of gray hairs and the real struggles of getting older. #dontmock

In the real sense of the word, I am getting older and with time have realized I can no longer stay up working late like I could when I was in college. Overnighters are not welcomed anymore. Seriously.

Last week my brain was super tired not only was it super tired, I was overworking myself, between being a little behind on the blog, not having a day off in my real job in over ten days. I was ready to just lock myself in my room.

Sadly my brain still functions and something not too fun happened.

It was Saturday night I was working on a recipe post, when it happened, I fell asleep typing. Am I setting the right mood?

Then my brain went off around 4 AM telling me you (maybe yelling) didn’t finish! Which made me toss and turn until I just decided to get up and finish the post, then I was full of energy and kept going until around 6:30 when I started to crash. Sure I could of gone back to sleep, only problem, I had work that day. Real life called and reminded I still have a day job where I had to be.

I know most of you are thinking, hey get some coffee. Sure I could. Just I’m a little sensitive to caffeine and too early in the morning or too late in the day and it will backfire. I’m glad I have my new favorite addition to my morning smoothie bowls–Natural Citizens Energy Smoothie Booster. Actually the reason behind even getting this protein powder was because my health guru said I wasn’t eating enough, a couple months ago and was overworking my body. Sidenote: Do you  know how hard it is to find a protein powder that taste good. Or even just doesn’t alter the taste of your food. The struggle is real. Since this one doesn’t have any added flavors it blends in great to any smoothie I make and I’ve even worked it into my overnight oats.

This smoothie bowl is beautiful inside and out. Inside its filled with quinoa, Rhodiola rosea, maca and green tea thanks to Natural Citizens smoothie booster, and since they are awesome they also happen to be non-GMO, certified organic, vegan and gluten free which is a must for me. On the outside the bright purple hue just makes me swoon. Seriously. Loving the purple thanks to blackberry, strawberries and raspberries. Oh berries how good are you.

If you need a good recommendation for granola clusters, Jessica has you covered. I am currently obsessed with the Chocolate Chip granola, this smoothie bowl is topped with the Vanilla Maple. I was shooting the recipe and snacking on the granola. #dontgivemethatface

What do you do when you are crashing? What are your go to boosters to supercharge your smoothies or smoothie bowls.

Don’t forget to tag us if you decide to turn your smoothie bowls into superwomen smoothie bowls,  supermen smoothie bowls or superME smoothie bowls.  #FOPfood

Supercharged Blackberry Smoothie Bowl
Print
Recipe type: Smoothie Bowl
Serves: 1
Something sweet, fruity and full of energy for breakfast. Look no further than this supercharged smoothie bowl full of blackberries, Natural Citizens energy smoothie booster, this is perfect for summer months to cool yourself off from the heat.
Ingredients
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • ¼ cup of frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ cup of frozen blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp hearts
  • ¾ of a cup of almond milk, or more if want a thinner consistency
  • 1 serving of Natural Citizens- Organic Energy
  • Toppings: (optional)
  • ½ a sliced banana
  • GF Granola clusters, like Jessica's Natural Foods
  • Fresh berries
Instructions
  1. In a powerful blender or food processor, add all your ingredients but the toppings. Blend or process until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a bowl, top with toppings if using.
  3. Enjoy right away.

 

I was not compensated for this post. I did receive the samples from Natural Citizens. I was not required to use them in this recipe, but loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Follow Our Passion.

avocado-orange-pudding12
desserts, Recipes

Orange Avocado Pudding

avocado-orange-pudding5avocado-orange-pudding2

Did you guys know, avocados are fruit? Yup. They are. Not only are they fruit but avocados are pretty bland, hey before you get mad, I love avocados, they’re buttery and delicious. Regardless of the fact that they’re buttery and delicious they’re still  pretty bland, it’s actually pretty awesome if you think about. Why? Well, guys that means we can treat it the way its supposed to and enjoy it in a sweet and/or savory way. I grew up eating avocado with most of my meals. My family’s Colombian, it’s typical to eat avocados, with soups, rice, chicken, arepas, the list is endless. When I lived in Rio way back in the day, I noticed Brazilians eat avocado in dessert form, which was bizarre and at the time, my young 11 year old brain couldn’t process that info and put it in the back burner.

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Stove-top-apple-crisp3
desserts, Recipes

Stovetop Apple Crisp

Stove-top-apple-crisp12

Have something delicious coming your way tomorrow... Have an guesses?? Give you some hints. @bobsredmill gluten free oats and some delicious apples.

Stove-top-apple-crisp10

Funny thing. This recipe was actually created for a friend of mine and the story behind it is quite entertaining.

So a week or so ago a friend of mine calls me around six and is freaking out and  saying she needs me to go into chef mode.

Which means she needed a recipe yesterday. When I asked her what it was for it turns out she wanted to impress a guy. Total girl move, am I right? No judgement we’ve all been there and will continue to be there.

Anyways. Two things, she needed a quick dessert recipe and was giving me two conditions. The first it had to be done in less then 45 minutes since the guy was due at any minute, which meant she couldn’t go out to buy anything and it had to be stove top since she doesn’t have an oven.

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A new green smoothie recipe is coming your way tomorrow: it's tasty, delicious and filling!
beverage, breakfast, Recipes, snacks

Kale Peanut Butter Green Smoothie

Kale-Peanut-Butter-Smoothie2Kale-Peanut-Butter-Smoothie3   Kale-Peanut-Butter-Smoothie9Kale-Peanut-Butter-Smoothie10

When I was in middle school peanut butter and I were best friends. I ate peanut butter like it was my job. When my ED took a over, peanut butter turned into the enemy and my long relationship with him soon came to an halt. While I was in FAU the late night cram sessions called for peanut butter and we decided to put the evil break on hold and resume our loving friendship.

After I left FAU I ditched peanut butter and started a new friendship with almond butter, then I discovered all sorts of nut butters while living in Cambridge and my love affair with nut butters took off.

A few months ago while I was at the Everything Food Conference I discovered thanks to our lovely sponsors from better body foods, the PB Fit Peanut Butter Powder.  Its NON GMO which is super important to me and also the fact that it’s in powder form tells me it would be a great addition to not just this smoothie but other recipes in the near future.

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Chickpea-summer-salad2
Recipes, salad

Chickpea Summer Salad

13725654_292816977739771_318004990_n Chickpea-summer-salad7

Summer time is all about easy, lazy recipes that come together in no time that are still delicious and healthy. That and reading a good book by the pool while guzzling down delicious refreshing drinks like my Pineapple Cucumber Mint Coolers.  Oh and running in the afternoon while the sun is still out, not too harsh that you can’t stand it but enough that it increases the sweatiness and gives you a little face tan. Not gonna lie, I prefer 1000 times more fall and winter than summer but if were going to do summer we might as well enjoy it.

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Recipes, snacks

Collard Green Hummus

Collard-greens-hummus1Collard-greens-hummus2Collard-greens-hummus3Collard-greens-hummus9

The other day something magical happened. Magically unexpected. I created a recipe without even trying and fell head over heels for it. I know, I know your probably thinking people say this all the time. Trust me, it is crazy good. I mean mind blowing good. Then again I might say this next week, who knows. At the moment this Collard Green Hummus is all I can talk about.

This whole thing started when I started having a collard green craving crisis.

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Mushroom-gravy-quinoa-bowl9
main dish, Recipes

Mushroom Gravy Quinoa Bowls

Mushroom-gravy-quinoa-bowl1Mushroom-gravy-quinoa-bowl6Mushroom-gravy-quinoa-bowl11Mushroom-gravy-quinoa-bowl8

Do you ever have those moments when you have no idea what to make for dinner or even lunch?

Not even the slightest idea of what to make, even though the possibilities are endless.

That happens to me all the time, especially when the fridge is at its fullest, my mind keeps going at constant non stop rate of creating recipe upon recipe and I get so excited that I end up lost. True story.

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Pineapple-cucumber-mint-cooler3
beverage

Pineapple Cucumber Mint Cooler

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/16988573/?claim=tjsae6vvzsz”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Pineapple-cucumber-mint-cooler11 Pineapple-cucumber-mint-cooler8 Pineapple-cucumber-mint-cooler5

I don’t know about you, but I totally forget about cucumbers and sometimes think of them as just the crunchy topping on my salads or the nice addition to my goat cheese and cucumber sandwiches. I forget that they add amazing health benefits and can easily sneak them into my smoothies and juices.

You mean you didn’t know that cucumbers are high in vitamin A, B and C? How did you not know that? Its okay. Well good thing I am here to share this little fun fact with you. Hehehe.

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Roasted-garlicky-broccoli2
main dish, Recipes

Garlicky Broccoli with Almonds

Roasted-garlicky-broccoli13Behind the scenes of one of my favorite recipes: coming soon: featuring: Almonds

Fun fact:

When I was younger I was obsessed with broccoli and cheddar soup. The kind of soup you get at fast food or chain restaurants, you know the thick, dense, calorie packed, the one you crush up those packaged crackers on top off. Yeah that one. I know you know what I’m talking about. Don’t pretend you don’t.

Funny thing is, I am still very much obsessed with that soup. It’s comforting to me, I don’t know why, there’s no weird reason behind it, it just is.

The soup I make at home now is a lot healthier and not going to affect my lactose intolerant self like the one I ate as a kid but still very good.

While I will at some point in the future share my creamy, dreamy, vegan broccoli soup today I am going to share something that isn’t soup related but is all about the broccoli. This is a simple, quick and delicious way to prepare broccoli.

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Roasted-baby-carrots1
main dish, Recipes, salad

Roasted Baby Carrots

I had an interesting, slightly bizarre dream the other night.

 I was being followed by giant…grapefruits.

I told you it was weird.

 The strangest part of this entire scenario wasn’t that I was dreaming with giant grapefruits, what I find a bit more strange is that I’m not dreaming of carrot greens.

 You see I’ve been on a carrot green pesto kick.

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Carrot-greens-pesto
Recipes, snacks

Carrot Green Pesto

When I was little I had a fascination with vegetables in their full form as in with roots, greens and still everything intact.

Like carrots, radishes, beets and turnips.

I think a lot of it had to do with Winnie the Pooh and just the entire concept of the entire vegetable in its raw self. Not pre chopped, just in its pure veggie form.

What can I say? I’m a tad weird. No judgement.

You should know I had never really tried it so I didn’t know if it tasted good or not.

Carrot-greens-pesto                               Carrot-greens-pesto Continue Reading

everything-food-conference28
Lifestyle, travel

Everything Food Conference 2016

everything-food-conference6

A few weeks ago, May 17-23rd to be exact I had the opportunity of attending the Everything Food Conference in beautiful SLC, UT. First food bloggers conference btw. It consisted of way too much yummy food (never an issue in my book), amazing speakers, wonderful presentations and most importantly I learned a ton+ met amazing people.

I could literally go on and on giving you a play by play of the conference, not my style though. To bring you back with me I’m going to share funny stories essentially memories to transport you there.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? –Mary Crafts Homer

Since this is my blog I can go ahead and speak pretty candid. I was a ball of nerves. It might not had seemed like I was, but I was. The good news is I tried my best to put my nerves aside and be me. Something that is actually more difficult than you would think. You see I’m an introvert against what others actually believe. When I’m in an uncomfortable situation or I don’t know anyone, I tend to get really shy, quiet, pretty serious and hide behind my phone. If you ever see me staring at my phone trust me its a defense mechanism if you want to talk to me, just talk.

The amazing thing is when you finally realize you’re surrounded by people that totally get you, the nerves you had quickly diminish and you start to wonder when you will see them again?

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traveling-essentials4
Lifestyle, passion tips, travel

Flying Essentials

I’m jumping up and down! After months of waiting, the day is here! On my way to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Everything Food Conference!

(That was me yesterday btw, I’m already in SLC!!!)

This conference has me all giddy and stuff for the following reasons:

 1:First food bloggers conference ever! YES!

2: Networking with all the amazing sponsors and incredibly talented fellow bloggers!

3: Food. That’s a huge reason all on its own right there.

4: All the fun times I will have and learning experiences. #livinglife

5: I’m gonna stop before you no longer like me, I can literally come up with a million other reasons.

 I am breaking out of the traditional recipe post and sharing with you my travel essentials.

 I’m talking airplane snacks, what my go to supplements to travel with, airplane attire and a few other tips to get you to your final destination weather that’s work related, vacation mode or in my case a little bit of both, in a fun, chic and healthy manner.

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mock-tuna-salad
main dish, Recipes, salad

Mock Tuna Salad

Put the can of tuna down RIGHT NOW. You won’t need a can opener for this.

Chickpea of the sea.

Honestly that is what I would love to call this recipe.  Sadly it wouldn’t make really good SEO. Oh the troubles of blogging. Hehehe. Kidding. Actually not really, seriously why can’t google figure out if I name something Chickpea of the Sea that I am talking about a mock tuna salad. Oh well.

I am obsessed with chickpeas. For one they are a great way to get plant based protein. The second and most important reason is they are said to improve your mood, which to me is a pretty kick butt reason to eat chickpeas. Oh yeah and they really tasty. All good reasons in my book.

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gluten-free-waffles1
breakfast, Recipes

The Best Gluten Free Waffles

You guys wanna hear something funny?

My little brother is home for the summer from college. That isn’t the funny part, wait a second.

I should mention my little brother also happens to be 21 and a fitness fanatic.

One of my favorite parts about having him home, apart from the obvious of spending time with him, is that he pushes my limits when we workout. When I say he pushes my limits, I mean he makes me feel the burn, a deep burn.

On Monday afternoon we went out for a jog/walk/walking lunges/I can’t move anymore type of workout. It was about 4 km long, just so you get an idea. Since I can’t really explain the distance let me put it to you this way, I easily did over 100 walking lunges on each leg. When I normally do: 3 sets of 20.

If you do the math you can imagine how my legs feel. Also there was no stopping in the jog/do sprints/some jumping squats/the end of walking lunges, there was keep going until your soar butt gets back home.

The feeling that my legs have at the moment, isn’t something I can describe, instead I have them yelling at me saying how much they want me to suffer now that I made them. No judgement on this front please.

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granola-bowl1
breakfast, Recipes

Orange Pumpkin Granola

When I was younger, I was the kid that would finish an entire box of cereal in one sitting. Don’t give me that face.

Actually my brother also participated in this weird adventure. We would sit there and eat the entire cereal box as if the world would end if we didn’t.  Getting up early before everyone else and watching cartoons was just regular weekend routine.

My mom always yelled at me and would tell us she wasn’t going to spend another dime on a cereal box again if we continued to eat it at such a fast rate. This was something that happened every weekend and every time we went to the store she would give in. Luckily.

Now that I am 25, sitting in front of the tv watching cartoons with a big ol’ cereal bowl is a bit frowned upon, I have taken my childhood routine and given it a little adult make over. While I no longer eat the entire bag or jar of home made granola in one sitting, its just as delicious and addicting as the stuff I ate as a kid.

I didn’t like the healthy kind, I liked the sugary kind, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes with banana and strawberries was “healthy” in my child like mind.

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vegan-taco-salad5
main dish, Recipes, salad

Vegan Taco Salad

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Confession time, while I love Mexican food. I’ve never had a Cinco de Mayo party other than when I lived in South Florida which was during my short time in FAU. That aside, its the perfect time to talk about my slight obsession with tacos and anything related to them.

Sadly as much as I love spicy food my liver doesn’t agree with it which means, I have to limit and when I say limit is more like I’ll be sick if I eat spicy food. Not gonna lie….it does happen on occasion, I eat spicy food, just like I sometimes enjoy a glass a wine or two. Shhh. No judgement. What can I say…I love food and anything food related. Hehehehe.

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zucchini-oliveoil-lemon-cupcakes
desserts, Recipes

Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes

I try to eat healthy, actually I eat pretty healthy most of the time.

Weirdly my body craves mostly green smoothies and eggs. I know it sounds like I am trying to sell you on green smoothies, but seriously, they taste so good.

Anyways,  recipe has nothing to do with green smoothies, I was starting to say I try to eat pretty healthy. I also tend to stay away from dairy, truth be told it makes me a tad sick with my lactose intolerance. I can tolerate a few cheeses, like goat cheese and sometimes parmesan (in little amounts).

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simple-green-smoothie
beverage, breakfast, Recipes, snacks

Simple Green Smoothie

Yo guys.

Here’s a question I have for you?

Do you have any particular breakfast item you are slightly obsessed with more than others? Or a snack you can’t get enough of?

For me its green smoothies.

I love them.

They are easy peasy to make, don’t have to dirty much other than the blender, a knife and cutting board. No measuring no nothing. All this makes me a pretty happy camper.

Simple-green-smoothie-ingredients

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Makoto-whole-fish
Lifestyle, restaurant reviews

Makoto Panama, An Incredibly Experience

As many of you know I was given the opportunity of interning at Cafe Sushi while I attended Le Cordon Bleu Boston. Something you should also know is I have a very strong admiration along with respect for Japanese cuisine.

Makoto-mango-pudding

In March 2016, Panama was graced with the opening of Makoto Panama, the second restaurant to Chef Makoto Okuwa. Lets get to know this brilliant chef. Not only did he apprentice throughout Japan, his homeland for over tens years before he deciding to hit stateside, he also happened to work as head sushi chef for the exceptionally talented individual —Chef Morimoto. Chef Makoto has since 2011 partnered up with restaurant mastermind Stephen Starr in you guessed it, Makoto Bal Harbour Shops.

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Ginger-ice-tea
beverage, Recipes

Ginger Ice Tea

Ginger is one of those ingredients that you either love or you hate.

Sorry for the strong word.

I myself find it strange when I meet a ginger hater, weirdly its actually quite common to find people who dislike ginger.

If you are a ginger hater this post isn’t for you.

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carrot-cake-pancakes-ingredeints2
breakfast, Recipes

Carrot Cake Pancakes

I love pancakes.

Pancakes are the way to go for breakfast. They can be savoury or sweet. I enjoy them with pure maple syrup, some vegan butter. I really like them wrapped around a sausage link, maybe with some jam spread over it before being wrapped. They are pretty tasty with some almond butter and bananas. Or with tons of scallions mixed in and eaten with some greek yogurt. Yes I am that, the pancake freak in the corner with drool down her chin as she dreams about pancakes. Don’t judge. Okay I might be a little dramatic but they are good.

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green-smoothie
beverage, breakfast, Recipes, snacks

Ginger and Mint Green Smoothie

I stick to pretty much the same breakfast rotation on busy work mornings, the only time I get out of my comfort zone meals are when I happen to have the day off.

My comfort zone breakfast rotation is something along the lines of hard boiled eggs and a green smoothie or porridge and fruit, if I am really lucky and I happen to have some frozen oat waffles in the freezer, it makes me a pretty happy camper.

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sweet-potato-tacos
breakfast, Recipes

Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos

Hands down tacos are the ultimate food to eat.

They are definitely up there with my ultimate favourite food.

Seriously anything can be a taco all you need is some sort of vessel like a corn tortilla and whatever filling rocks your boat.

I think in my past life I traveled all throughout Mexico and ate my way around the country via tacos.

Think about it, breakfast tacos, tacos for lunch & dinner oh and of course dessert tacos. There this thing called snack tacos or have a taco whenever you feel like it.

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Chickpea-and-greens-soup7
main dish, Recipes, soup

Chickpea Noodle and Greens Soup

Is it just me or is soup really comforting?

Maybe your a tad sick, feeling blue, boy/girl problems, work issues, a recipe you wanted to make didn’t come out just right or you just want to tell everyone to go away, because you can.

I can find a few more reasons.

Or should we skip to what exactly makes us crave this comfort food and get down to business?

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kid-mac-cheese12
main dish, pasta, Recipes

Kid Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is comfort food, sadly being lactose intolerant makes it a bit more difficult to enjoy this comforting dish.

As much as I miss and love cheese, finding ways to recreate old classics makes my job in the kitchen so much more fun. I’m really into taking vegetables and creating unique sauces that mask the vegetable taste yet hold all the nutrients. That way I can trick people. Hahaaaaa.

This Kid Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese is a great example. I use butternut squash puree to coat some gluten free pasta before sprinkling the top with a gluten free, crispy topping.

kid-mac-cheese16 kid-mac-cheese6

Kids to me are one of my biggest critiques. They’re super picky eaters, when I get to serve something like my Kid Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese and have kids eat it without thinking the sauce it made out of butternut squash, I feel like a boss in the kitchen.

I roasted my butternut squash with the skin on and then pureed it with some water until it was creamy and smooth. If your running short on time you could substitute it easily with store bought no biggie. The star of the sauce is the mixture of nutritional yeast, a little mustard, paprika and my surprise friend Blendfresh Orange  which I use to bump up on the veggie and fruit front without any additional flavor or color! Scoreeeeeeee.

If you are new to nutritional yeast, my friends get on the nutritional yeast wagon. It is AMAZING. It delivers a slight cheesy, nutty flavor, its almost hard to describe flavor. I add it to everything. From scrambled eggs to popcorn. I would definitely say it’s a staple in my kitchen.

The crispy topping you see on top is made from Enjoy Life Foods Plentils Chips.   I crush them up with my hands, mix them with a little vegan butter, some more nutritional yeast and top the casserole with this mixture before baking it off to a golden brown color.

Great news: This reheats beautifully, I shot the recipe, enjoyed one for lunch and then reheated the other three the following evening for dinner with some friends. The sauce was still creamy and cheezy, it didn’t dry out and the topping was incredibly crunchy.

kid-mac-cheese8kid-mac-cheese1

You won’t be able to stop eating this Kid Friendly Mac and Cheese with Crispy Topping, it’s that good.

Kid Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese
Print
Creamy, decadent and delicious. This kid friendly Mac and Cheese with Crispy Topping is not only vegan and gluten free, it is also nut free. Give this dish a try when you want to sneak in veggies to your pickiest eaters.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup of pureed butternut squash (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 + 1 teaspoon tablespoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, separated
  • 4 tablespoons of blend fresh orange
  • 7 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, separated
  • 1 bag of gluten free brown rice pasta, like Field Day
  • 2 tablespoons of salt + enough to taste
  • 1½ cups of Enjoy Life Plentils
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 450.
  2. In a large pot with matching lid, fill with water and add the 2 tablespoons of salt. On high heat bring water to boil. Once it reaches a rolling boil add the brown rice pasta, give it a stir to prevent sticking and place the lid. Reduce heat to medium high. Follow directions until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water to add to sauce.
  3. In a medium size sauce pan on low heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegan butter, garlic powder, and stir in the purred butternut squash. Then add the Dijon mustard, blend fresh powder, 5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir everything until combined, cook for about 2-3 minutes. Check for seasoning, if needed add more salt.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain.
  5. Toss the sauce with the pasta.
  6. Pour pasta mixture into individual ramekins or a large casserole dish.
  7. In a small bowl add the plentils and crush them with your hands. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast and vegan butter. Mix until well combined, Top the casserole or individual ramekins with this mixture.
  8. Bake at 450 for about 10 -15 minutes. Then turn on broiler, broil for an additional 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy.
  9. Leftover keeps great in the fridge for up to 4 days.

I am beyond stoked when you make a recipe from Follow Our Passion! If you make this incredible Kid Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese tag #FOPfoods -Cannot wait to see them!

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. I received the samples from Enjoy Life Foods. I was not required to use them in a recipe, but I loved this mac and cheese so much I wanted to share the recipe with you guys.  I only talk about brands I whole heartedly stand by. Thank you for supporting Follow Our Passion.